Arizona unemployment rose to 9.3 percent in June - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Arizona unemployment rose to 9.3 percent in June

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Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2011 12:52 pm | Updated: 5:17 pm, Thu Jul 21, 2011.

The state’s jobless rate jumped two-tenths of a point last month, to 9.3 percent, as the recovering economy sputtered a bit.

Aruna Murthy, the agency’s director of economic analysis, said it is common for the state to lose jobs in June. Part of that is due to schools letting out and part of that is due to the snowbirds finally going home.

But Murthy said month-over-month loss of more than 57,000 jobs is about 50 percent higher than normally occurs at this time of year.

Despite the decline, Murthy said it is important to focus on the bigger picture. And in this case, she said, that means the fact that 7,300 more people were working last month than a year earlier.

“This is our hope here,’’ she said.

“We have to look at the over-the-year numbers to actually tell us that thing are getting better, not at the pace we would like and not at the growth we would like,’’ Murthy continued. “But if you compare them to two years ago, they look slightly better now.’’

One of the brighter spots, for a change, was the state’s construction industry which added 3,200 workers between May and June.

Murthy said, though, these are not people building new homes. Instead, she said, the increase appears to be coming, in part, in the specialty trades, with many of those now employed in the business of doing repairs.

“I think that we have reached a point where things need to be fixed,’’ she said. ``I think people can’t go beyond a certain point.’’

That sector of the economy still has a long way to go, though, before employment reaches pre-recession levels: With 112,500 people working in construction, that is just 45 percent of what it was at its peak in June 2006.

Murthy also cautioned that there may be further job losses this month, saying that has been the pattern in the past.

Sector employment in 1,000s

Sector / June 2011 / At its peak*

Total nonfarm / 2,355.1 / 2,713.6

Manufacturing / 151.2 / 187.4

Natural resources & mining / 11.0 / 14.3

Construction / 112.5 / 247.5

Trade, transportation, utilities / 471.7 / 549.2

Information/ 36.4 / 55.6

Financial activities / 162.8 / 187.2

Professional & business services / 335.5 / 408.7

Education & health services / 353.5 / 323.2**

Leisure & hospitality / 259.5 / 279.1

Other services / 87.6 / 102.0

Government (including public education) / 373.4 / 449.0

* Different sectors have different peak dates

** Prior peak in October 2008

-- Source: Arizona Department of Administration

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